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Introduction To Industrial Relation

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Introduction To Industrial Relation

  1. 1. Lecture 4: The Historical Context of Industrial Relations Niels-Erik Wergin Introduction to HRM
  2. 2. Why study the History of IR? <ul><li>Because </li></ul><ul><li>“ in no other country do contemporary developments reflect as strongly deep historical origins” as in the UK. </li></ul><ul><li>(Edwards et al. 1998: 2) </li></ul><ul><li>With other words: in order to understand the present, we need to understand the past. </li></ul>
  3. 3. Overview <ul><li>Three topics: </li></ul><ul><li>The development of trade unions </li></ul><ul><li>The development of employers’ organisations </li></ul><ul><li>The development of employment law and IR institutions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>These 3 topics are related to the 3 actors in IR: labour (employees/unions), capital (employers), and the state </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. The Origins of Industrial Relations (IR) <ul><li>(History of IR) influenced by four major factors: Politics, Economics, Society and Technology </li></ul><ul><li>The history of IR began in the late 18 th century </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Industrialisation (1780-1840) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Emergence of a factory system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development of a capitalist economy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Major changes in economy and society </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Result: Emergence of a working class </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reaction: Establishment of trade unions (TUs) </li></ul></ul>
  5. 5. The Beginnings: Early 19 th Century <ul><li>1799/1800: Combinations Act – collective organisation of workers and strikes are an illegal &quot;restraint of trade&quot;  conspiracy </li></ul><ul><li>1824: Combinations Act repealed </li></ul><ul><li>yet, during much of the 19 th C., governments and the law remained hostile tow. organisation of workers; strikes still illegal </li></ul><ul><li> serious obstacles to the establishment of TUs </li></ul><ul><li>1834: &quot;Tolpuddle Martyrs&quot; exiled to Australia </li></ul>
  6. 6. Early-mid 19 th C. – The first Unions <ul><li>First local trade unions developed out of medieval craft guilds of skilled workers </li></ul><ul><li>From mid 19 th C.: local unions of craftsmen formed nationwide amalgamations </li></ul><ul><ul><li> first modern TUs / &quot;New Model Unions“ </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>involves formal organisation with hierarchy from national to branch level, offices, paid union officers etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>more permanent than previous organisations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>employers started to engage in collective bargaining (collective negotiations) with these unions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1851: ASE – Amalgamated Society of Engineers (now part of Amicus) </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. The late 19 th Century – More Unions <ul><li>1868: Trades Union Council (TUC) formed </li></ul><ul><li>1871: Trade Union Act gives TUs legal status </li></ul><ul><li>1880s: semi-skilled and unskilled workers begin to organise – &quot;New Unionism&quot; / &quot;General Unions&quot; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gas workers' union (now part of GMB) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dockers's union (now part of T&G) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1880s: White-collar unions formed </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Nat. Union of Elementary Teachers (now part of NUT) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1890s: over 1000 unions ( Ø m’ship just over 1000) </li></ul>
  8. 8. The late 19 th Century – Changed Government Policy <ul><li>1899: TUC establishes forerunner of Labour Party </li></ul><ul><li>late 19 th C.: Royal Commission on Labour concludes that strong organisations of workers and employers are the most stable basis for regulating employment </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Support of TUs and collective bargaining becomes official govt. policy for almost a century (until Thatcher) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1906: Trade Disputes Act protects trade unions and the right to strike </li></ul><ul><ul><li>provided main principles of trade union law (until Thatcher) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>based on a system of immunities from legal liabilities </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Employers’ Associations (EAs) <ul><li>EAs also grew during late 19 th - early 20 th century, as a reaction to the establishment of TUs </li></ul><ul><li>Origins in 18 th C. were local collaboration </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Engineering Employers Federation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building Trades Federation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ship Building Federation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Growth in 20 th C. – linked to national bargaining </li></ul><ul><li>Decline since 1980s – linked to switch to local bargaining </li></ul>
  10. 10. The Shop Steward Movement <ul><li>During first world war: emergence of Shop Steward Movement </li></ul><ul><ul><li>more radical rank-and-file movement than established unions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;parallel unionism&quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>mainly in engineering, shipbuilding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Becomes less important in interwar period </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Becomes important again during the 1960s </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. The Post-War Period - Keynesianism <ul><li>Establishment of “Welfare State” </li></ul><ul><li>Full employment </li></ul><ul><li>Economic growth </li></ul><ul><li>Trade Unions are at the peak of their power and membership </li></ul><ul><ul><li>In the late 1970s, Jack Jones and Hugh Scanlon, the leaders of two big unions (and not the prime minister) are voted as “most powerful men of Britain” in a survey </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. The 1970s <ul><li>1971: Conservative government introduces &quot;Industrial Relations Act&quot; </li></ul><ul><ul><li>comprehensive legal framework, similar to US system </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>law is resisted by both employers and unions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>1974: law is repealed by Labour government </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1978/79: &quot;Winter of Discontent&quot; – series of long strikes in the public sector </li></ul><ul><ul><li> the (Labour) government seemed to have lost control, many people thought that unions were to powerful </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. The 1980s/90s: Thatcherism <ul><li>1979-1997: Conservative governments (Margaret Thatcher and John Major) </li></ul><ul><li>Economic policy of liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation </li></ul><ul><li>Shift from Keynesianism to Neo-liberalism </li></ul><ul><li>Shift from national to local bargaining </li></ul><ul><li>Most radical changes to IR legislation since the industrial revolution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Achieved by a series of eight laws on IR </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. New IR Legislation under Thatcher and Major <ul><li>Major elements of these laws: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>restriction of strikes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>govt. support for collective bargaining ends </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>end of closed shop </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>regulation of internal union affairs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>restriction of individual employment rights/protection </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Weakened TUs considerably: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Miners Strike 1984-5 lost </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wapping Dispute 1986 lost </li></ul></ul>
  15. 15. Since 1997: “New” Labour <ul><li>The new Labour Government under Tony Blair did not change the legal framework introduced by the conservatives, apart from three major changes: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TU recognition legislation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Minimum wage </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Right to strike strengthened </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Also: support for social partnership and “new unionism” </li></ul>
  16. 16. Further Readings <ul><li>Edwards, P et al. (1998): “Great Britain: From Partial Collectivism to Neo-liberalism to Where?” In: Ferner, A/Hyman, R (eds.): Changing Industrial Relations in Europe , pp 1-54. Oxford, Malden: Blackwell. </li></ul><ul><li>Hyman, R (1995): “The Historical Evolution of British Industrial Relations”. In: Edwards, P (ed.): Industrial Relations – Theory and Practice in Britain , pp. 27-49. Oxford, Cambridge: Blackwell. </li></ul><ul><li>Marchington, M/Goodman, J/Berridge, J (2004): “Employment Relations in Britain”. In: Bamber, G/Lansbury, R/Wailes, N (eds.): International and Comparative Employment Relations – Globalisation and the Developed Market Economies , pp. 36-66. London et al.: Sage.  </li></ul><ul><li>Salamon, Michael (2000): Industrial Relations – Theory and Practice (4 th ed.). Harlow: Prentice Hall. </li></ul>

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